I attended a meeting with some potential clients. After we had danced through a series of topics about their company, their challenges and my company, I asked, “What have we not covered that might be important to you in making your decision?”
The prospect said, “Great closing question, Jane”. I smiled to myself. My intent wasn’t to ask a “closing question”, my intent was to gain a complete understanding of the situation from the prospect’s perspective.
When salespeople use the term “closing” they are usually referring to how to complete the sale, seal the deal, write the order – you get where I’m going. And, these goals have been defined by sales trainers as closing for decades. An equally critical part of closing is closing the experience – closing the interaction. Every client interaction, especially face-to-face, should have a well-crafted opening and an equally crafted closing.
At the end of a client meeting, be sure you’ve garnered the following information
- Have you identified all the clients concerns in order of importance (as defined by the client)?
- Have you answered all their questions and objections?
- Do you have a clear understanding of what each of you will do following the meeting?
- Do you have a clear timeline for those actions?
And, then finally:
- Re-cap the actions and
- Thank the client for their time and input
Ending a client meeting properly is a critical part of effectively connecting with that client and developing your relationship with them. This is an easy step to miss because often at the end of a meeting we are rushing through our allotted time, or the client is ready to move on with their day.
The end of a client meeting should be as clean as the end of a formal presentation. Gain commitment from the client to the action items and timeline and say your final thank you before you lose control of the meeting and everyone’s attention. Don’t wait for the uncomfortable and informal opportunity to say, “thank you” at the elevator or as everyone is scattering to their offices.
By utilizing the final few moments to deliberately craft how the client will remember your meeting, your professionalism may help you close the deal!